“NFL AM” needs more news, less argument

NFL AM, the new NFL Network morning show, debuted at 6 o’clock this morning, and by 6:15, a five-person panel was arguing about which is better, winning an Olympic gold medal or winning a Super Bowl.

That had me worried that NFL AM was going to be yet another morning show that favors manufactured debates instead of news that informs or enlightens viewers. NFL Network would be wise to leave that stuff to the local sports radio stations, and to Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith on ESPN First Take.

As I kept watching, however, I saw the potential for a strong morning program. NFL AM has access to the biggest names in the NFL, and the interviews with Cam Newton and Rex Ryan were the best part of the premiere episode. If NFL AM airs those kinds of interviews every day, plus highlights and analysis once the season starts, it’s going to be worth watching for early-rising NFL fans.

But if it’s all about arguing, it’s just going to be noise, not news. And it’s going to be far too much noise if they can’t find a better way to divide up the workload among the five-person panel of Brian Webber, Nicole Zaloumis, Eric Davis, Mark Kriegel and Steve Wyche. The five-person set looked overcrowded even before it expanded to include a sixth panelist, Michael Fabiano, for the fantasy football segment. I’d be willing to bet that it won’t be long before NFL Network reconfigures the set to alleviate the problem of too many people talking at once. (The set is also overcrowded with Burger King logos, but it’s probably safe to say those won’t be going anywhere.)

NFL Network should also rethink the idea of including a segment called “Our Daily Tebow.” That comes across as a cheap ratings grab, suggesting they’re planning to talk about Tim Tebow every day, whether he does anything newsworthy or not. That’s straight out of the First Take playbook.

Basing NFL AM in Los Angeles was an odd choice, and I don’t envy the sleeping schedule of the folks working on a West Coast show that starts at 6 a.m. Eastern. Given that the staff on the show is probably driving to work before 2 a.m. local time, I have to wonder if NFL AM‘s Monday, Tuesday and Friday morning shows during the season will feature a bleary-eyed panel discussing Sunday, Monday and Thursday night games that they couldn’t stay awake to watch.

But if they’re able to offer real insight into the games, and if they increase the number of daily interviews while cutting down on the number of daily arguments, NFL AM has the potential to succeed. For football fans, there’s no such thing as too much football. And if you’re a football fan and people are having an insightful football discussion as soon as you roll out of bed, that’s something you’ll want to watch.

47 responses to ““NFL AM” needs more news, less argument

  1. I was thinking the same thing when I first began watching this morning. With all of the arguing and talking over each other it just seemed like a slightly less stupid version of ESPN First Take.

  2. Watched it for about an hour or so, it has potential. It beats watching re-runs of Total Access when you wake up, that’s for sure.

  3. Before choosing NFL AM, I think the other working titles were Tebow Today and Morning Manning.

  4. I despise the constant arguing that some shows partake in…like ESPN first Take. I’ll be avoiding this until it figures out what it wants to be. News, previews, and interviews…I’d tune in for that.

  5. Can’t the same be said about pretty much any “talk-show” on ESPN or NFL Network? There are dozens of shows like this.

  6. As with most of the shows on that network, there is about 5 minutes of useful or insightful information for every 60 minutes of air time. NFL fans can enjoy a good argument/debate if it is actually about the game.

    The NFLN could replace much of the programming redundancy with actual classic games from the SB era. There would be plenty of NFL fans that would watch some of the greats of yesteryear.

  7. The whole idea behind NFL AM was to compete with ESPN First Take. What other way could they have a show before the season with the amount of headlines being generated? It’s a good concept other then repeating Top 10 and NFL Access shows all day. Without First Take ESPN does the samething with SportCenter. It’ll pickup in September.

  8. Dude, this show is turrrrrible! If you arnt gonna invest the money to put together a quality show then don’t bother doing it. I’d rather watch the 10 greatest long snappers that was filmed in 1982.

  9. The Kriegel-Wyche 2 minute debates they’ve been airing constantly on NFL Network are completely unwatchable dreck. That’s been the teaser for NFL AM, and 100% of the reason I have no interest in the show.

    If I want terrible argumentation from guys that look like they’re just waiting to spew their pre-written lines, there are plenty of shows on ESPN and the news channels to fill that need.

    NFL Network should feature players, coaches, and lots of practice reps. Show us the two-minute drills of the Redskins or some 7 on 7 plays. Nobody in the world cares what Wyche and Kriegel think about Tebow’s chances to air it out. Not even Tebow cares.

  10. Lots and lots and lots of people in Los Angeles have Time Warner so they won’t be able to see it anyway so it’s kind of a moot point. At least for me.

    “It’s what the fans want.” — Roger Goodell

  11. Watched a portion of the show this morning and I am pulling for it to succeed but not sure of the line up. My first thought was that Michelle Beadle was a free agent this summer and I would think she would have been a great host for this show, also looking at former players. Maybe they tried to sign her before she moved to NBC (I believe) or perhaps that thought never came up but she would be great. I know who Eric Davis is but average fans will not, so with all the retired players available I have to think they could have gotten a bigger name added to the line up. In that case keep Eric and drop someone else for a former player with more name appeal. All that being said I wish them luck and hope to see a strong morning show by years end, something to make you alternate with Mike & Mike.

  12. Didn’t watch the show. As a Time Warner Cable subscriber, not by choice, I dont get NFL Network. After reading this review I doubt I’d watch this new show. However it’s probably better than ANYTHING on ESPN. I can’t believe First Take is still on the air. Are there that many people who are interested in anything that doofus Skip Bayless has to say? Ridiculous.

  13. It matters little the format because in the end they will only cover those teams that are the media favorites. Most of these ex-players and sports reporter want-a-bes are just in it for themselves and content doesn’t matter.

  14. NFL Network is moving towards many of the reasons I don’t watch ESPN anymore (except on Mondays).

    The Dr. Phil stuff and silly skits is not what I want as a fan, but maybe I’m in the minority. Still better than ESPN, but it sounds like this show is moving in that direction.

  15. Skip Bayless is a doofus but Steven Smith is a screaming doofus. First Take has to be the worst show on a national network and I hope the NFL Network exercises some common sense and stays away from the format.

  16. Who’s idea was it to bring this Mark Kreigel nutbag into the fold.

    He’s Tony Cornheiser with far less content, and I can’t stand Cornheiser either.

    Get him out of here. The scrawny loser with the thick New York accent is oh so tired.

  17. I watched two hours 6-8 and it was very repetitive. They pretty much discussed the same things just in different order for the two hours and before i shut it off to start working they previewed the next hour and it was THE SAME STUFF!! I was excited about it because i am sick of Mike and Mike (they talk about the same crap for 4 hours as well) and Sportscenter. Needless to say i was very let down. I especially dont like Mark Kriegel. He reminds me of Skip just says crazy stuff really loud and all he wants to do is talk about Tebow and the fabricated QB controversy.

  18. Watched the show for about 30 minutes and that was as much as I could stand. I generally like NFLN programming, but this thing was horrendous. Just give me the news, analysis and good interviews. Leave the arguing to Fox News, ESPN, and CNN…Tired of that ish

  19. Get use to it folks, as the national media is all about two things… 1) The headlines(Tebow,Mannings neck, ect) 2) Taking two guys and making them argue about those same headlines. Not stuff like who’s fighting for the backup running gig for your respected team and stuff like that(Just an example)

    Also, people should know that the guy who turned SportsCenter into the advertising with a little sports on the side ordeal that it is now, is the same guy who currently runs the NFL network. So get ready for the those endless “Coorslight 5 cold question” segments with the NFLN.

  20. This is just another opportunity for quarterbacks to be shoved down our throats. I’ve been watching NFL games for more than 50 years and even I know teams, not quarterbacks, win Super Bowls.
    If having the best QB guarantees championships, I’m pretty sure Dan Marino would have more rings than Trent Dilfer, Doug Williams, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Ripien, Brad Johnson and Ben Roethlisberger combined.
    This obsession with quarterbacks must stop!!!

  21. Horrible. The only way to describe it. Eric Davis is terrible. The only one I thought was decent was Wyche.

    What is up with the couch behind the desk? And all the Burger King cheesy logos?

  22. I have always enjoyed the quality of the NFLN’s broadcasts. This reeks of copycatting BSPN. NFLN, please don’t go down that road! That network in CT is unwatchable for me!

  23. The only way it could become more like ESPN garbage is if they use their “insiders” to invent fake rumors, attribute them to “unnamed sources,” and then debate them since they now qualify as news because somebody reported it.

  24. Have they mentioned yet if the Texans are still in the NFL? From what they’re reporting, I’m just assuming that the league has shrunk to about 8 teams…

  25. I am glad someone else agrees. The previews have been obnoxious. Just give the NFL news and some reasoned analysis and cut out the schtick please.

  26. The repetitiveness of the show and Mark Kriegel have just about ruined the show for me. I’ll give it a few more viewings before I relegate it to broadcast black hole that I’ve cast most of ESPN and CBS’ NFL Today.

  27. NFL_AM is a poorly conceived and executed presentation. True NFL Fans are not interested in squabbling, empty headed talking heads spouting crap.
    Best thing the network can do is cancel the shaow and suck it up as a failure.

  28. That was the worst show that I have ever watched. I watch ESPN in stead of my normal thing of watching NFL network. Whoever thought this up needs to be fired. I normally watch NFL network from 0530 to about 0700, but today I watch ESPN. Lets do some reporting and less talking. I want to here about the teams and less mouth. The need this show on com on man!!

  29. I watched some of it before falling back to sleep. I accept that the show might go through growing pains before they hit their stride and it gets really good. It’s just nice to have an all NFL live show in the morning.

  30. Kriegel craps on diva WR’s and yet he is the cancer to the show. He was a bad columnist for Fox sports and now it’s a disgrace that he’s on TV!!

  31. Well writtern Michael! Today’s premiere was horrible. Who wants to watch debate that early in the morning? Why would they base the show in Cali? NFL, I love you… but not the show.

  32. I have ComCast and the NFL Network is constantly pausing and breaking up while other stations are working well.

    The NFL Network has got to have the UGLIEST sports analysts on TV. The women aren’t bad, but the men are hideous looking. Then they’re loud which isn’t a morning thing really. Not for me. Mike and Mike actually seem to realize that it’s first thing in the morning.

    Bottom line on this show is that 4 hours a day is too much time to fill, especially in the off-season…

  33. Average people have about an hour to get ready for work, before they leave home. I watched/listened to it for a little over an hour this morning………total crap. They covered like 4 teams in that time, the Cowgirls, and Tebow twice..

  34. Programs like NFL AM are the inevitable byproduct of having a network dedicated to one sport. Who didn’t see this coming? When you run out of original material, you need filler to kill time and that is exactly what NFL AM is.

    I know America loves football, but a 24/7 network dedicated exclusively to the NFL was a bad idea. In fact its a bad idea for any sport to have their own channel. One can only take so many classic games and over analysis by overly critical former athletes.

  35. I thought the first 2 hours of the show were ok. It seems like everyone was expecting something massively different.

  36. The live interviews are good. But maintaining 4 consecutive hours everyday won’t work. The first hour is new, the rest repeated. What I didn’t like was how Total Access then used most of the AM show to repeat again. When Nicole started screaming this morning I had to change the channel. Since we, the fans pay the wages for this crew and all the others, they need to remember that. I don’t care what they get paid, but it’s a decent job where professionalism should be a priority. Since I love football and keeping up to speed on what’s going on, I want to see and hear good storylines. More often than not, many of those who host, analyse the shows on the network are now just looking for and promoting gossip and controversy. This is NFL pro football, not some dumb reality show. When I pay hard earned money for TV programming I expect it to be worth it. The Director for NFLN needs to get a handle on his staff and remember what he’s airing will be scrutinized closely by the FANS that pay for it. Time to clean it up, replace a few people and get on with football. If you advertise coverage of all 32 teams, then do it.

  37. I’ve recorded all of the episodes and very disappointed. Why because they focus on 8 to 10 teams almost everyday or the same stories. You have 4 hours a day could you spend some time talking about other teams more that 2 min or break down a team that isn’t in your top 10 to talk about for once! There are 32 teams not 8 to 10. The coverage is real boring when you repeat the same story in 4 hour period 4 or more times! I end up fast forwarding through almost the whole 4 hours every day!

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